Tag Archives: books

Teaching Kindness and Training Warriors

As a momma-to-be, there are already so many things I worry about for this sweet child I’m carrying. Am I eating the right foods to help her grow big and strong? Am I picking the right bedding, toys, and accessories so that he’ll be safe, secure, and happy? How do I prepare for the unknown worlds of birth, feeding, and tireless newborn care?

My biggest worry, though, is the overall prospect of bringing this little one into a great big world that is so bright and beautiful, but can also be harsh and mean and scary. For a while she’ll be protected by the cloak of babyhood – being constantly supervised and surrounded by people who offer nothing but kind words for this tiny new being. But in a brief few years she’ll grow up and go out on her own – at pre-school, at the park – and someone will say something unkind to her or another child. And the thought of that shatters my heart…

So how do I teach my child to embrace kindness even in the midst of a sometimes unkind world? How do I let him know that, no matter how strong meanness may seem, kindness will always win? How do I encourage him to face each day, brave and strong, as a warrior fighting for kindness for all those around him?

With small daily acts and beautiful inspiring words.

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Fortunately, my lovely sister-in-law, Katie Moore, has recently published an incredible children’s book on exactly this topic. Her book – You Are A Warrior – tells a beautiful, whimsical, and truthful tale of a little girl who is doing just that – being a warrior by fighting back against bullying with seemingly small acts of kindness that yield huge results. What makes Katie’s book even more special are the delightfully happy illustrations that are a compilation of her four talented children’s artwork combined with her own wise words. Without a doubt, this is an inspiring book and a meaningful message for adults and children alike.

Since I’m fortunate enough to know this witty and wonderful author, I asked Katie a few questions about the book in hopes of absorbing some of her awesome, love-filled wisdom:

What was your inspiration for writing this book?                                                               

My inspiration for writing this book was to give my kids something to hold and read and know that they contributed to a real book. Something tangible that they helped to create and build and feel that they could put it in their hands and say that they were a part of. I’m working on a novel that is aimed for an adult audience so it was important for me to get this one out first. Also on my blog I write a lot of things that are adult humor that I would never (ever) want them to come across, but a book that is for kids helps confirm that their momma really is a writer. It gives me some street credit. Plus (and most importantly) I am a huge fan of children’s books that send out a positive message. I want my kids and kids everywhere to be kind and aim for good every single day.      

As a mother of four (incredible) kids, why do you think this is an important book and message for children?                                                                                                                 

I think that it is desperately important that children realize that small acts can make a tremendous impact on this world. Bullying is rampant in schools, playgrounds and probably the most detrimental of all, on all sources of media. Kindness isn’t a slight thing, costs nothing and has the potential to bring hope to every generation. Children of all ages have the power to bring change.

I love the artwork in the book! Can you tell me more about your process for creating the beautiful and inspiring images?                                                                           

Thank you! I am in love with collage work with mixed media. I wanted to create something whimsical with my own kids’ artwork and add some words and light to bring each page its own type of faithful magic. The process is really glue, hope, glue, repeat. Roll with the mess and the mistakes… perfection is overrated.   

What is the number one lesson that you hope anyone reading – both children and adults – will take away from your book?                                                          

Show up. Be kind. That really would be a dream if that was the takeaway. Oh and have fun too. Warriors are rockstars.                                                                                                                                                                            

Thank you dear Katie!

There is still time to get the perfect Christmas gift for kids of all ages (including those grown-up kids who may need a little kindness reminder) by ordering Katie’s book on Amazon: You Are A Warrior.

While you’re there, be sure to pick up a copy of her lovely inspiration journal – Dream a Bigger Dream – to spark your own creative potential.

For more of Katie’s wit, humor, and wisdom, check out her blog, The Naked Momma, at www.thenakedmomma.com.  Or get her daily dose of inspiration and fun on Facebook and Twitter @thenakedmommakt.

PS – it just so happens to be Katie’s birthday today, so share the love!

What small but mighty acts of kindness have you seen or done this week? Leave a comment below with ways to share some joy this season and beyond, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of You Are A Warrior – a beautiful gift just for you! Happy kindness spreading friends!

Weekend Wandering: Adventures in Asheville

Andrew and I are lucky to get to spend most weekends at home together. Still, with all the hustle and bustle of daily life, errands to run, and chores to get done around the house, it can be nice to get away and have a change of scenery. Though I love the life and home we’re creating, monotony gets stifling to me and I’m always seeking new experiences and explorations.

So this past weekend, for a breath of fresh air, we headed to Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day / an early 6 month anniversary / any excuse to get away. Though I’d been to the beautiful mountain town of Asheville years before, I’d been longing to return with Andrew and bribe him to visit the Biltmoreand other city sites in exchange for feeding him endless local craft beers. A win-win really.

So we set off Saturday morning without a plan. While this lack of planning may bring stress to some (myself included at times), it also adds to the adventure. Armed with just a few friendly recommendations and a vague idea of where we might sleep that night, we were determined to drink in the best of the city in just one short weekend.

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We wandered through street musicians and artisan markets into the incredible Battery Park Book Exchange. This place is a library meets bar meets living room. Or if you’re a book lover like me, it’s simply heaven.

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All the books are previously loved and deeply discounted, and the place itself welcomes you in and makes you want to stay until you’ve read every book under their roof.

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But time was limited and stomachs were rumbling, so it was time to try local cuisine with a side of southern hospitality at Mayfel’s. Though surrounded by mountains, we enjoyed a lunch of shrimp po-boys, gumbo, and fried catfish that tasted as if it came straight out of the bayou. And the beignets… oh the doughy fried sugary goodness!

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After a bit more meandering and a tasty craft brew for Andrew, he indulged my inner book nerd once more with a visit to Asheville’s infamous Malaprop’s Bookstore. This local landmark has become a mecca for book-lovers and talented authors from around the world. So I was excited to score a signed copy of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by one of my new favorite authors, Ann Patchett.

Though I could have happily stayed and read the evening away, the sunny skies and fresh mountain air beckoned us outside again. It was too late to soak in the beautiful weather with a hike, but just the right time to take it all in at an urban beer garden.

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Our lunch waitress suggested we visit the new and little known Ben’s Tune Up. This gem of a find has risen from the ashes of it’s former life as an auto repair shop to become an eclectic bar, beer garden, and sake brewery – the perfect open space to gather with friends and share some Asian fare and ginger beer.

And let your patriotism shine…

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On the recommendation of, well everybody, we ended the night with dinner at the delicious Curate tapas bar. If you’re like us and don’t plan, know that you will likely be waiting for over an hour to score a seat. But the wait is well worth it, and since the restaurant texts when the table is ready, we used it as an opportunity to explore even more.

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The beauty of tapas style dining is the ability to try so many different dishes. From chorizo and clams to croquetas, none of our mini meals disappointed. And you just can’t go wrong when you finish the evening with homemade raspberry sorbet and lemon thyme ice cream.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early for our day at the Biltmore Estate.

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Since I had been pestering him for months about visiting America’s largest home, my sweet husband surprised me with tickets for Valentine’s Day.

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To fuel up for the trek through the 178,926 square foot house, we began with a bountiful brunch buffet at the Biltmore’s Deerpark Restaurant. There were more amazing options than we could even handle, so we waddled out full and happy.

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Once inside the house, the magic and majesty of the mansion that I remembered from childhood overtook me once more. The grandeur, the design, and the detail are the stuff of dreams.

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The vistas of the Blue Ridge mountains encircling the property are breathtaking.

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And a beautiful terrace to relax and enjoy the views doesn’t hurt the charm either.

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After winding up grand staircases, down sprawling hallways, and through tapestry laden living rooms, we emerged from the house slightly humbled. Though it’s nice to visit, the upkeep of such an estate, especially without many of today’s modern conveniences, seems downright daunting.

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As the early evening sun settled over the mountains, it was time to return to the real world. East Tennessee was calling and new adventures, including a new dog, awaited us back home.

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No matter how brief, the break and breath of fresh air that a weekend escape brings is always wonderful. I’ve returned to daily life rejuvenated and only slightly bitter that I wasn’t born a Vanderbilt…

Don’t Get Over It

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When bad things happen in life – big or small, your fault or not – it’a a common refrain to hear from yourself or others, “Just get over it.” Depending on the severity of the situation, it may not be directly said, but there is an implication in society that in order to be strong and independent, we just need to get over things and blaze our own sure-footed path forward.

But I’m not convinced that this is the best option in many cases, or even possible in some instances. Just getting over something implies that it doesn’t or it can’t affect us anymore, and sometimes that is just too hard in the current moment. To get over something means that we turn our back on the problem or the hurt – a hurt that really needs to be faced head-on.

So what’s the alternative?

Are we just supposed to “get under it” and remain in that place of pain and hurt, continually blaming ourselves or others? There are times when staying under it is all that we can do, but in the long run this method doesn’t prove any more productive than ignoring the issue and getting over it. It’s a pit rather than a path forward – and pits become dangerous and deep far too fast.

Life, especially pain and struggle, is like that old book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We’ve got to go through it!”  Through it is the hard way – filled with lots of slogging through messy mud and wading in deep water. Yet by going through it you really experience life – the good and the bad, the guts and the glory.

And that’s what life is really about isn’t it? The journey, the learning, the honesty of having dealt with and overcome obstacles. Anything else is just skimming the surface, and it’s in the deep blue of “through” that the beauty of life lives.

So if you’re experiencing a tough time, don’t cave to the pressure of having to get over it, but don’t let it crush you either. Hold your head high, be brave, and march boldly through.